Olders, wat doon wy der med? / Parents, what to do with them …

Sassisk

“Dor is mal ’n Prinz wäst, den sien Vadder bleew dot, un dunn kreeg’ hei ’n Steifvadder. Un as nahst sien Mudder dotbleew, kreeg’ hei ok noch ‘ne Steifmudder dortau. Dei beiden hebben em all’t Mœgliche toleeden dan. Dunn het dei Jung’ sick utkleed’t un is heimlich wegloopen.”

Siegfried Neumann, Plattdeutsche Märchen: Volkserzählungen aus Mecklenburg (1978), s. 57

Olderskap wurdet oft seen as eyn van de sköynste vörms van leevde. Et is en leevde sünder konditionen. Olders dee höär kinder vorlåten of vorwårlousen of gewald andoon bünt eyn van wearld höär argste monsters. In en bült märkens seen wy dårum doch wat anders. Olders sülv bünt neet so sklim, mor dår et styvolders wurden geit et klöyte. Dat seen wy us ouk in disse vortelling uut Meklenburg med titel ‘Schorfkopf’. Junkke syn ollüde bünt beident uut tyd kummen, en beident syn nye styvolders bünt gemein teagen hum. Prins geit hum dårum mor wyde wearld in. Med den tyd kümt hee eyn teagen, dee hum in deinst nimt. Disse blikt Düvel to weasen. Doch, disse Düvel givt unse prins de möyglikheyd, hum to revenceren:

“Buten dei Stadt het hei ’n lütt Gehöft hatt. Dor hett hei den Jung’ seggt, wat hei tau daun har’: Gaut ünnerbäuten ünner drei taustülpt Kätels – hei süll œwer nich dei Deckels upböhren! … As dei Düüwel weg is, kickt dei Jung’ ünner dei Deckels. Un dunn set in den einen Kätel sien Steifvadder, in ’n annern sien Steifmudder, in ’n drüdden sien Schaulmeister, dei em ümmer so väl slagen harr. ‘Täuw’, denkt hei, ‘juuch kann ’t nich schaden!’ Un hei bött düchtig nah.”

Siegfried Neumann, Plattdeutsche Märchen: Volkserzählungen aus Mecklenburg (1978), s. 58

Styvolders en meister waren höär sou vuul teagen unse prins, dat see wårlik lykas Düvels wurden. Dår Düvels höär normålertyd in Hel bünt, künnet see good teagen hitte van de kettel. Tenminnent, dat düt unse prins sik glöyven, um syn martelreveansy good to maken.

In disse vortelling, en in en bült anderen, bünt et neet de biologiske olders, dee höär höär kinders vuul behandeld. Nee, dat bünt altyd en ander ard olders, styvolders meynsttyds. Idea is, dat et vöär kinders to grüwlik is, as biologiske olders gevårlik bünt vöär höär. Dat geit ouk up vöär de vortelling Sneywitken. Dit märken, upteykend döär broders Grimm en al in eyrsten versioon van höär Kinder- und Hausmärchen uut 1812 publiceard (sülvs al is titel höär up et sassisk, de vortelling is doch oaverset når et hougdüütsk). In låtere versionen was et vöär olders doch to grüwlik dat kinders döär höär eygen biologiske olders vermourd of upaeten wurden kunnen. En bült van disse styvmoders uut disse ard vortellingen waren höär eyrst neet sou styv. Nee, in 1. versioon van Grimm was styvmoder de eyrste, biologiske, moder van Sneywitken. Olders uut boavenste klassen van de düütske såmenleving wulden höär neet länger disse ard vortellingen to höär kinder vortellen. Broders Grimm hebbet höär düs dån wat as see höär oft doon: see hebbet de märkens anpasd, dår de moders en våders höär neet länger plåged wurden döär wat as der originaal in disse teksten steit. In låtere versionen is et en trul in stea van höär biologiske moder, dee Sneywitken upeaten wol, of, lykas in disse Disney-inspirearde versioon, vannys en styvmoder (dår Disney de trul in en styvmoder anderde):

“Dar is mol ‘ne Königin wesen, dei hadd ‘ne lütte Dochter kregen. Dei ehr Huut was witt as Snee, de Lippen weern rot as Blut und dat Hoar weer so swatt as Ebenholt! Dorüm dä de Königien ehr „Sneewittschen“ nöhmen.

“Aber bold danah harr de Königin starven mösst un de König nahm sick ne nie Fru. Dei was bannig gladd ober tau un tau eitel. Se harr ‘n Wuunerspeigel, un ümmer, wenn se dor rinkieken dä, seggt se: „Speigel, Speigel an de Wand: wer is de Schönste in’t ganze Land?“ Un de Speigel anterte: „Fru Königin, Ji sünd de Scheunste in’t ganze Land!“

“As nu Sneewittschen grötter wör, anterte de Speigel an een Morgen: „Fru Königin, Ji sünd de Scheunste hie, ober Sneewittschen is noch dusendmol scheuner as Ji!“

“Nu arger sick de Königin gewaltig un se smiet ehrn ganzen Hass up Sneewittschen. Se leit den Jager komen un secht to em: „Gah mit de Deern in’t Holt – da schasst du ehr dot scheiten!“ De Jager harr aber Mitleeden mit Sneewittschen un lett ehr in’n Holt lopen …

“De Königin aber dach, Sneewittschen wör lange dot. Un as se nu ehrn Wunnerspeigel fragen dei, do seggt dei: „Frau Königin, Ji sünd de Scheunste hie, aber Sneewittschen over de Bargen bi de söben Dwargen is woll noch dusendmal scheuner as Ji!“

“Da argere sik de Königin gewaltig und se dä sik verkleeden un güng as ole Kramersfru to dat Dwargenhuus. As se da weer reip se: „Scheune Waren to verköpen! Scheune Waren to verköpen!“ Sneewittschen keup en Gürtel un dat vole Wief band em ehr üm un tog em so fast, dat Sneewittschen to Bodden fiel as wenn se dot weer. Aber as nu de Dwargen wedder na Huus keumen, un dat Malör seihn, da snieden se den Gürtel twei un Sneewittschen dä sik wedder verhalen.

“Ni makt de Ole ‘n giftigen Kamm un güng wedder na’t Dwargenhuus. Sneewittschen – de dusselige Deern – keup den Kamm und de beuse Königin stek ehr den in’t Haar. Sneewittschen fiel wedder üm as wie dot. Aber die Dwargen funnen den Kamm un trocken em ehr ut de Haar und de Deern wak wedder up. Un die Wunnerspeigel seggt dat de Königin wedder! Nu dä de Königin – sei was wirklich ne Beuse – ‘n halben Appel vergiften un darmi güng se dat drüttemal to dat Dwargenhuus.”

Skreaven döär J. Leupold

De styvmoder in disse Disneyficearde vortelling van Sneywikten, was düs originaal Sneywikten höär biologiske moder. Um bokery good in verkoup to holden, hebbet de broders Grimm höär vortellingen mor anpasd: geyn biologiske moders länger, mor styvmoders of, beater, trullen of heksen (Maria Tatar, The Hard Facts of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales (1987), s. 142). Dat was de Grimms neet vrümd: see hebbet wårlik oft de vortellingen, dee see vorsåmmeld hebbet, anpasd um der skyre prosa of poesy van to maken. Mor see hebbet ouk en wårlike bangigheyd van kinders hyrmed vorborgen. Kinder künt höär angst hebben um olders dee höär villicht vorlåten kinnen. Of olders dee, dår see gramnydig wurdet, höär kinder slåt. Din bünt styvolders oft en heyl good alternatyv. Villicht wilt wy gaern en universaal symboul van leevde seen in de moder, mor biologiske olders künt neet altyd an süksen ideaal voldoon. Dat styvolders now al disse grüwlikheyd up höär krigt is neet altyd eyrlik. Mor vansülv künt styvolders ouk neet sou skyr weasen. Villicht bünt wy nargens nimmer buten gevår …

English

“Once upon a time there was a prince whose father died, so he got a stepfather. And as his mother died next he also got a stepmother. Both of them have made life a living hell for him. At one point the boy undressed and secretly ran away.”

Siegfried Neumann, Plattdeutsche Märchen: Volkserzählungen aus Mecklenburg (1978), p. 57

Parenthood is often seen as the purest form of love. It is a love without conditions. Parents that abandon or neglect or harm their children are one of the world’s most horrible monsters. A lot of fairy tales therefore portray something different. Parents themselves are not that bad, but once they become stepparents, things go awry. That is what we also see in this story from Mecklenburg, titled ‘Schorfkopf’. The parents of a young boy have passed away, and his newly-begotten stepparents are mean to him. The prince decides to go out into the wide world. In time the prince meets someone who is willing to take him into his service. This person apparently is the Devil. Still, this Devil allows the prince to take revenge:

“Outside of the city [the Devil] had a little homestead. There he told the boy what he had to do: keep the fire going underneath three kettles filled to the brim – but he should never lift their lids! … When the Devil went off, the boy looked underneath the lids. And then he sees in one kettle his stepfather, in the other his stepmother, and in the third his teacher, who has often beaten him. ‘Well’, he thinks, ‘it won’t hurt you!’ and he kept the fire going faithfully.”

Siegfried Neumann, Plattdeutsche Märchen: Volkserzählungen aus Mecklenburg (1978), p. 58

The stepparents and the teacher were so ill-disposed towards our prince that they literally became alike Devils. Since Devils normally stay in Hell, they are resistant to the heat of the kettle. At least, that is what our prince is thinking, justifying his torturing revenge.

In this story, as in many others, it is not the biological parents that mistreat their children. No, those are always a different kind of parents, most often stepparents. The idea is that it is too terrifying for kids that their biological parents are dangerous to them. This can also be seen in the fairy tale Snow White. This fairy tale, recorded by the brothers Grimm and already published in the first version of their Children’s and Household Tales in 1812 (even though the title of the story is in Saxon, the story is already there translated to High German). In later versions the parents considered the story to be too horrifying, since children were murdered or eaten by their own biological parents. A lot of these stepparents from these kinds of stories were first not that steppy. No, in the first edition of the Grimms, most stepparents were actually biological parents. Parents from the upper layers of German society were no longer willing to tell these stories to their children. The brothers Grimm did what they would be doing quite often: they adapted the fairy tales, making sure that the mothers and fathers no longer were bothered by the original content of these texts. In later versions the biological mother is replaced by a troll who wants to eat Snow White, or like in this version inspired by Disney, another stepmother (since the Disney company changed the troll into a stepmother):

“Once upon a time there was a queen who had a little daughter. Her skin was white as snow, her lips were red as blood, and her hair was as black as ebony! That is why the queen named her ‘Snow White’.

“Shortly thereafter, however, the queen died, and the king took a new wife. She was really beautiful but really really vain. She had a magic mirror, and every time she peered into it she said: ‘mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?’ And the mirror answered: ‘My lady, you are the fairest of them all!’

“Now, when Snow White grew up, the mirror answered one morning: ‘My lady, you are the fairest here, but Snow White is a thousand times more beautiful than you!’

“The queen became furious, and she poured all her hate onto Snow White. She summoned the hunter and said to him: ‘Go with the girl to the woods – there you will shoot her dead!’ The hunter felt compassion towards Snow White, and he let her flee into the woods …

“The queen thought that Snow White died a long time ago. And when she asked her mirror again it said: ‘My lady, you are the fairest here, but Snow White, across the mountains at the seven dwarven’s place, is even a thousand times more beautiful as you!’

“The queen became furious and she went, disguised as an old solicitor, to the dwarven’s home. Upon coming there she yelled: ‘Beautiful wares for sale! Beautiful wares for sale!’ Snow White bought a belt and that awful woman tied it too tight around her, so that Snow White collapsed on the floor as if she were dead. When the dwarves came home and see the horrible situation, however, they cut the belt in half, and Snow White comes to it.

“Then the old woman prepares a poisonous comb and again went to the dwarven’s home. Snow White – a rather dumb girl – bought the comb and the evil queen stuck it in her hair. Snow White collapsed as if she were dead. The dwarves, however, found the comb and took it out of her hair, and the girl woke up again. And the magic mirror told the queen again! Now the queen – she was really a wicked one – poisoned half an apple and went to the dwarven’s home for the third time.”

Written by J. Leupold

The stepmother in this Disneyfied version of Snow White was originally Snow White’s biological mother. In order to keep the book sales up the brothers Grimm adapted the stories: no biological mothers anymore, but stepmothers or, even better, trolls or witches (Maria Tatar, The Hard Facts of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales (1987), p. 142). That wasn’t something new for the Grimm brothers: they quite often rewrote the stories that they collected, as to make them into beautiful pieces of prose or poetry. But they also erased a real fear of children by doing this. Children might be truly afraid of parents that might suddenly abandon them. Or parents that, once they become angry, hit their children. Then stepparents seem to be a good alternative. Perhaps we would like to have a universal symbol of love in the figure of the mother, but biological parents cannot always fulfil that ideal. It is not fair that now stepparents become the receptacles of all these anxieties. But, likewise, stepparents can be horrible too. Perhaps we are never out of danger anywhere …

… As dei Düüwel weg is, kickt dei Jung’ ünner dei Deckels... / … When the Devil went off, the boy looked underneath the lids...

Spookplåtkepråt

Um et maken van de foto

Elkeneyn is et produkt van syn upwasken. In al val vöär en deyl. Et givt altyd wel wat to vinden dat beater weasen har künt. Seelenknypers kinnen der gold geld med vordeinen! Myn idea was altyd: as ik et net wat beater dug as vöärig mål, dan sit der skot in. Düs wel binnen der vöär disse foto neet beater geskikt as myn dochter höär hand en myn hand? As older wul ik altyd vöär ougen holden, dat wat et beste is vöär myn kind. Ik sol neet gaern ien de pot van de Düvel torecht kommen! Eyrst har ik nog eaven et plan de kop van myn meyster van vroger in pan to plakken, mor weil ik dat an et doon was, was ik alweer heyldaal når van dee kop … wat en misbaksel! Düs dee mos gewist wurden en ik har mor gauw en ander plan maaked! Krekt lyk myn andre plåtkes har ik gebruuk maaked van moderne vöärwarpen dee ik vöär hand heb. Myn induktsioonplåt en pannen düs. Geyn olderwets Düvels vüertke mor wel med etsülvde angstanjågende gevöyl mag ik houpen!

Spooky Spectral Speculations

About creating the picture

Everybody is the product of the way he was raised. For sure for a part. There is always something to find that could have been better. Psychiatrists earn good money with it! My idea has always been: If I do a little better than my parents, then the world slowly becomes a better place. So who are better fit for the picture then my daughter’s hand and mine? As a parent I always wanted to focus on what is best for my child. I really do not want to end up in the Devil’s pot! At first I planned to paste the face of my former teacher into the pot, but when I was doing that I got sick again from his ugly face. So I deleted that pic quickly and made another plan! Like my other photos I used modern stuf that I have laying around in my surroundings. The induction cooker and pans. No old-fashioned devilish fire, but I did achieve the same horrifying feeling, I hope!

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